Posted on 12 May 2015
Professor Paul Johnson, of the Department of Sociology at York, joined a group of academics which included Sir David Edward, a former judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union, to examine the implications of the General Election for human rights protections.
Before the election the Conservative Party pledged to repeal the Human Rights Act, which was enacted by the Labour Government in 1998, and to make significant changes to the UK’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights.
The Conservatives further suggested that if the Council of Europe, the body in which the European Court of Human Rights sits, did not accept their proposals they would pull the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights. If that happened, the UK would be the only country in Europe, other than Belarus, to be outside of this European-wide human rights system.
The contributors look at the implications for human rights protections for individuals in the UK, as well as to the relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe, if the Government adopts this course.
Professor Johnson, who specialises in research on human rights, was the only non-lawyer invited to contribute to the report.
He says: “It is quite clear, from immediate and widespread media reporting following the General Election, that the new Conservative Government plans to honour its manifesto commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act. There is also the potential that the Government will end the UK’s long relationship with the European Court of Human Rights. In my opinion, both of these actions would be disastrous for human rights protections in the UK.”